The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List

If you find yourself wondering how to create your chosen transliteration style and can’t find the right character input, this will make happy reading:

The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List by Scott Pakin (4.3Mb PDF)

Common Transliteration Symbols in LaTeX

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At 152 pages, the comprehensive symbol list is a bit unwieldy.

As a quick reference, I’ve made a one-page table of the most commonly used transliteration symbols for dealing with French, German, Spanish and transliterated Arabic – along with some examples.

You can download it from here:

Common Transliteration Symbols in LaTeX (61Kb PDF)

Semtrans Package

For people working with Semitic languages, the Semtrans package can be useful.

I found this after weeks searching for how to represent the Arabic letter kha’ in the style commonly used in German scholarship (a letter ‘h’ with a little u underneath). You get this by typing \U{h}. See page 14 of the comprehensive symbol list. `Ayn is \Ayn.

N.B. When using the command \U{h} in a section heading, you need to add \protect beforehand, so the command becomes \protect\U{h}. Otherwise, you will get error messages and the symbol won’t display. Thanks to Berteun for this tip. I haven’t found any difficulties with the \Ayn command.


3 thoughts on “Symbols”

  1. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your website by accident, and saw your post about the problem with the \U{h} command in headings. I have never used the semtrans package, but I think that the problem most likely is that this command is ‘fragile’. If this is the case, you could solve it by:

    \section{Section with some symbol: \protect\U{h} in it}

    If you have these problems a lot, you could also take a look at the MakeRobust package, and read the entry in the TeX FAQ:

    Good luck,


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